Is the GRE the New GMAT?

There are two things MBA applicants have always dreaded: the GMAT exam and the mountain of debt they’ll be paying off for the next 20 years. Although both aspects were once thought to be inevitable in the MBA process, we’ve found a little loophole that may make things a whole lot easier.

Unfortunately, it has nothing to do with the debt issue (but with that post-MBA salary, that shouldn’t be too bad….right?) But it does involve the GMAT.

More specifically, avoiding it all together.

A successful GMAT score used to be the key to getting into the MBA program of your dreams, but in the past few years, hundreds of graduate programs all over the world have opted to accept the GRE as an alternative to the GMAT.

So, should you take the GMAT or the GRE? And how do you decide which test is best for you?

The most important thing is to focus on your strengths and weaknesses. For example, if you’re a powerhouse writer, but you’re not so good when it comes to verbal sections, the GRE is probably a better match for you. On the other hand, if you prefer verbal communication to written work, you might want to stick with the GMAT. If your main concern is your bank account, the GRE is significantly cheaper. This article from the Princeton Review breaks all the differences down for you.

While the academics of the two tests are equally as demanding, it’s important to know that the GRE is basically the “new kid” in a traditional, old school system. Even though many MBA programs are beginning to embrace the GRE, there’s definitely still a stigma surrounding the test, so that’s definitely something to consider. Also important – finding out if YOUR target schools accept the GRE. There is nothing worse than spending all that time and money preparing for a test…only to find out it’s not the right test for the programs you’re interested in.

The GMAT is the “big man on Campus” of the MBA system. It’s a trusted, perfected test that has been used for ages, so while a school might accept your GRE scores, they’re probably going to wonder why you didn’t bother to take the more popular test. Your choice to take the GRE probably won’t affect your application, but just remember that when it comes to the new kid vs. the BMOC, well… I’m sure you can guess the outcome on that one.

In the end, both tests require tons of preparation and obviously make huge differences in the outcomes of your career, but consider the pros and cons of both options when applying to your b-school, and keep in mind that a high score speaks volumes to admissions offices no matter what test you decide to take.

PS: If you’ve already taken the GRE, but are considering taking the GMAT, check out this handy tool that will convert your GRE score into your potential GMAT score. Just a little something to help to minimize any added potential stress. Because, come one, don’t you have enough already?

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